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The metal beneath her hands is warm. Warm and sticky with fluid that caused goosebumps to rise on her exposed skin. She sucks in another breath through her clenched teeth, tasting copper at the back of her throat.

In…. and out.

In…. and out.

She presses harder, limbs trembling, muscles burning as she fights to hold on– to do something while everything falls apart around her.

Through blurry eyes, her fallen tears floating in spheres of water around her head, she watches the swirling vortex of darkness and death before her. A massive blackhole that is slowly sucking in the other darkened ships filled with screaming soon-to-be-dead passengers.

Passengers she was supposed to look after. People she was supposed to keep safe and happy.

She can still hear them–those terrible agonized screams, forcing themselves over the screeching sirens— even though her radio has long since been filled with useless noise. Mind-numbing static fills the otherwise silent cockpit.

It is so cold. Her chest feels so tight. But is that because of her purposeful shallow breaths, or is the air already thinning out now with so little power left? She twists her head, squints in the dim light, but can’t see much past the blurred blobs of color and flashing lights.

Right. She lost her glasses when they were hit. They’re probably floating around somewhere.

Her hand slips, metal scrapping across her tingling palms. She gasps, turning her attention back on her partner and switching to one hand, pressing as hard as she can while wrapping her other hand around his arm to keep him close. With the artificial gravity compromised, she has to fight to keep close, to keep pressure on the wound.

For all the good it will do. A part of her mind hisses. Gritting her teeth, she fights the dark spots flickering in her vision, twisting, she braces her forearm against the wound instead.

What’s the point? Her oxygen-deprived mind howls. We are all going to die sooner or later, no ship would dare try to save us with such little distance between us and the blackhole. Tears slip down her cheeks, her chest tightening from more than a lack of air. She stares down at her partner, at the fluid pouring from his wounded abdomen, at the light barely flickering in his eyes.

So why was she trying to save something that isn’t even human? 

A sob bubbles from her burning throat. She chokes, coughing, tasting copper, crimson dripping from her lips. Still, even with her compromised vision, she can see him. Unnaturally perfect, hair as dark as the fluid floating around them. The pale painted metal of his ‘skin’ burning with heat beneath her hands, a sharp contrast to the icy fluid. His clothes are rough, softness unwarranted, unimportant against function.

But he was so beautiful to her, so kind and patient. She wondered, as many people did, if that was the result of careful programming, or if, just maybe, there was actual life within those wires and circuits.

The vortex looms even closer, the ship trembling as they come upon the final stretch. It is so quiet. So dark.

If this is the end. She thinks, eyes falling shut. I want–

She kisses him.

She kisses cold silicone lips, tasting metal and plastic. Tasting blood and her own salty sweat. And for a moment, there is nothing, and then– a gentle press back.

It is quiet as they fall, swallowed by the celestial body, lost forever.

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